"Cancer Drama Depicts Ordinary Life and Extraordinary Love"


What You Need To Know:

ORDINARY LOVE opens by showing a retired couple, Tom and Joan, enjoying daily walks and banter by the television. One evening, Joan finds a lump in her breast and has it checked. After some tests, she learns that it’s cancer, just as she feared. Tom takes longer to accept the news and tries to keep the mood light. Eventually, however, he gives into his fear but lets his wife know he’ll be with her every step of the way. They spend the next year going to the hospital for treatment. As the chemotherapy wreaks havoc on Joan’s body, their marriage is tested.

ORDINARY LOVE is a well-written, beautifully shot love story that celebrates the bond of marriage. It’s a realistic portrait of the ups and downs in marriage, especially when life gets challenging. The movie does a good job highlighting ordinary life. It’s relatable in this way, but still delivers an inspirational message. Ultimately, love keeps this couple together. Otherwise, ORDINARY LOVE has some brief nudity, a bedroom scene and a subplot involving a homosexual couple, so MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.


(BB, C, HoHo, L, SS, NN, A, D, M): Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements: Strong moral worldview includes a strong depiction of a healthy marriage, husband shows sacrificial love for his wife, and a homosexual couple deals with a terminal cancer diagnosis Foul Language: One “bloody” obscenity is used, one scene shows Joan vomiting from behind Sex: Married couple are shown having sexual relations Nudity: Joan is bare-chested in a couple of scenes while undergoing medical examinations Alcohol Use: Casual drinking of beer while watching television Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse: Tom smokes a cigarette in one scene, but no illegal or hallucinogenic drugs; and, Miscellaneous Immorality: Married couple fights and says some hurtful things to each other in a couple of scenes, and husband hides the death of a pet from his wife and tries to replace it without her knowing.

More Detail:

ORDINARY LOVE opens showing retired couple, Tom and Joan, as they enjoy daily walks and easy banter in the evenings by the television. As Joan showers one evening, she finds a lump in her breast and goes the next day to have it checked. Tom reassures her that it’s probably nothing, as does her doctor the next day. However, she’s sent for more tests just to make sure, and, as she waits for the results, she struggles with hidden fear. Although Tom is supportive, he refuses to show any worry until they have a diagnosis, and Joan feels obligated to keep her morbid thoughts to herself.

After a few weeks of tests and waiting, the doctor reveals that Joan has breast cancer and will need to undergo surgery and chemotherapy. Joan finally expresses her true fear to Tom, but he feels the need to be the strong one and opts to keep the mood as light as possible. He drives her back and forth to the hospital, sits by her bedside and has meals with her in the hospital cafeteria.

On their daughter Debbie’s birthday, Joan asks Tom not to tell Debbie about her illness, as he goes to lay flowers on their daughter’s grave. It’s a tradition they had done every year since her death, and this year Joan had to miss it because she was in the hospital. Despite his wife’s wishes, Tom reveals not only her illness, but also how scared and helpless he feels as he visits the cemetery.

The intensity of treatment heats up as Joan undergoes chemotherapy, and for the first time in a long time, their marriage is tested. The stress and fear gets to both of them, and they find themselves literally fighting through the pain. Joan feels very much alone and doesn’t believe Tom understands what she’s experiencing. He tries his best to be a good husband but doesn’t feel he can ultimately do enough. Yet, they never allow their love to falter, and he helps shave her head when her hair falls out, is by her side when she’s sick from the chemo, and is at every hospital visit she has. Their already strong marriage grows even stronger as they navigate the journey of cancer together.

ORDINARY LOVE is a well-written love story that celebrates the bond of marriage, by depicting a couple who have been together for decades, and who have experienced the tragedy of losing their daughter years before. Even though there are a few scenes that show some animosity between the two, ORDINARY LOVE is a realistic portrait of the ups and downs in marriage, especially when life gets challenging. Tom demonstrates sacrificial love throughout the movie, but he does allow fear and stress to weaken him at points.

ORDINARY LOVE does a good job highlighting the ordinary, mundaneness of life. There’s nothing special about Joan and Tom, their house, or their relationship. They enjoy tea in the hospital cafeteria while talking about the possibility of death, Tom feeds his goldfish every day, they decide what to have for dinner while driving in the rain – all very ordinary things. The movie is relatable in this way, and inspirational in its message.

There is some upper female nudity when Joan goes through medical examinations, and one scene shows Joan and Tom having intercourse. One “bloody” obscenity is used, but the language otherwise remains clean. For those listening carefully, they’ll catch a quick sex joke as Tom and Joan go grocery shopping, but it’s so quick that it’s easy to miss. Joan vomits from the chemo, but it’s only shown from behind. There are a couple of scenes that show cigarette smoking and drinking beer while watching television. Also, a minor storyline about a homosexual couple going through a terminal cancer diagnosis is told, and Joan and Tom attend the funeral. Anyone who has health anxiety or hates hospitals might find it difficult to sit through this movie, as it not only shows Joan’s treatments, but also shows multiple cancer patients alongside her in the hospital. For all these reasons, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.